Last week, we celebrated Women’s Sports Foundation Founder and social justice pioneer Billie Jean King’s 70th birthday with an intimate event for WSF donors and family at New York City’s Museum of Art and Design and its restaurant, Robert. While the milestone birthday was the leading reason for such a special gathering, it was really a celebration of Billie Jean’s commitment to our philanthropic efforts, her dogged fight for civil rights and the cultural changes she has been – and continues to be – the agent of.
To begin the evening, Susan Lacy, the creator and executive producer of “American Masters,” the eminent PBS series that chronicles the lives of American culture icons, introduced a special presentation of the American Masters Billie Jean King episode originally aired on September 10. After the screening, award-winning sportscaster Mary Carillo and Billie Jean sat down for a one-on-one conversation, where the audience was privileged to hear Ms. King’s firsthand account of the Battle of the Sexes match, and hear stories about growing up in a family of athletes and her personal tennis heroes.
For the final delight of the evening, guests were treated to a special performance by singer, songwriter and musician Roberta Flack. The Grammy award-winner serenaded the crowd with four songs, including her 1973 Grammy Record of the Year, “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” (same year as King vs. Riggs, of course!) and a special Happy Birthday tribute to Billie Jean.